Saturday, December 17, 2011

SeattleDad's 2011 Best Albums Post

One thing I have noticed while perusing several 'Best of 2011' albums posts is that they are all vastly different.  I think that's a product of the fact that there is an abundance of great music being made right now, but also because with all the delivery choices out there these days, it's easy to focus on a narrower set of genres to the exclusion of others.

And I'll be the first to admit that this is probably the case with my list as it stands below.  I'm sure I have missed some great music simply for the fact that I haven't been exposed to it.  That being said, I have listened to a ton of great music this past year.  And the 20 listed below are the ones I personally consider the cream of the crop. Each title links to a video from a song on the album.  Enjoy.

1.  The Cave Singers - No Witch Smooth, folksy goodness oozes from the seams of this Seattle trios third release.  Great music to play while kicking back after a long day at the office. 

2.  Tapes n Tapes - Outside  When all the 'Best Of 2011' lists were coming out, I quickly scoured them all to see how high each rated this record.  Needless to say I was disappointed not to find it on ANY of them.  This record has addictive riffs and catchy hooks laden throughout. I probably played it more than any other record this year. Given that, I would be very interested in hearing what you think about it after giving a full listen.

3.  Fleet Foxes - Helplessness Blues  This second release from the Seattle folk rock artists is a beautiful, mellow, and  harmonious compilation that will surely be as fresh and relevant 10 years from now as it is today.

4.  Deer Tick - Divine Providence I've seen this record described as 'sophomoric' and 'a party album', which is probably true but hey it's also a lot of fun.  There are elements of punk, twang, garage rock, and humor all blended together to make what was easily my favorite noisy release of the year.

5.  Black Whales - Shangri-La Indeed  I had never listened to a Black Whales song before getting my subscription to Spotify, but I really enjoyed what I found in Shangri-La.  Yes, this is yet another Seattle band, and perhaps I am being a homer but if you haven't checked these guys out, believe me you won't be sorry you did.

6.  Beirut - The Rip Tide  Another beautiful record from Zach Condon full of Eastern European gypsy influences and indie vibes.  Beirut continue to be one of my all time favorite bands and The Rip Tide picks up nicely where The Flying Cup Club left off.

7.  We Are Augustines - Rise Ye Sunken Ships Pela was one of my favorite bands a couple of years ago, and I was pretty bummed when they broke up.  And, although I hadn't followed the career of band members Billy McCarthy or Eric Sanderson there was no mistaken it was their new collaboration when I first hear We Are Augustines.  This is a stunningly great record and on my most played list for 2011.

8.  Devotchka - 100 lovers  An eclectic, grand, and distinctly European sound, coupled with beautiful harmonies permeates this release.  Don't be surprised if you find yourself daydreaming while listening to this record.  Perhaps their best release to date.

9.  My Goodness - My Goodness 
Terrific debut from this Seattle Blues Punk duo. Has the riffs to keep you coming back over and over again.  Very similar to The Black Keys sound, but it has its own unique vibe.

10.  Sallie ford & The Sound Outside - Dirty Radio  Hailing from Portland, Oregon Sallie Ford had got unique pipes and a lot of fun rock and roll energy.  This release is full of rockabilly leaning music that is simply fun to listen to.

The second 10.  Honestly, any one of these could easily have cracked my top ten but although it was tough I had to choose.  I also have one confession.  Since they are not streaming it, and it was just recently released, I have only heard a couple of Songs from The Black Keys El Camino, but I am still ranking it in my top 20 because, after all, it's the Keys and thus is awesome. 

11. Mastodon - The Hunter
12.  Black Lips - Arabia Mountain
13. Fruit Bats -  Tripper
14. Youth Lagoon -The Year of Hibernation
15. Black Keys - El Camino
16. My Morning Jacket - Circuital
17. British Sea Power - Valhalla Dancehall
18. Jeff The Brotherhood - We Are The Champions
19. Cage the Elephant - Thank You Happy Birthday
20. Kurt Vile - Smoke Ring For My Halo

Tell me readers, what where your top releases of 2011?


Diplo_Daddy said...

I can’t say I’ve ever heard of any of these artists. I’m madly in love with 70’s era music. But hey, I enjoyed perusing your list!

Idaho Dad said...

A few of my favorites from 2011:

The Young Knives - Ornaments from the Silver Arcade

Wild Beasts - Smother

The Mommyheads - Delicate Friction

Cosmo Jarvis - Is the World Strange or am I Strange?

Frank Turner - England Keep My Bones

But, by far, my favorite album of the past year was:

Pete and the Pirates - One Thousand Pictures

Bruce Sallan said...

Thanks a lot! You made me feel like Grandpa as I don't recognize a single one on this list! Where's Sgt. Peppers?

J-Tony said...

Hey man sorry but I think my computer transferred your list into something non-englilsh. I've never heard of any of these either. Of course I may be a little out of touch...

triles said...

I haven't been very good about staying current with music, so this list is a great starting point for me.

I know Devotchka from Little Miss Sunshine. Your link got me started on a run of their youtube stuff. I'm sure the other links will do the same.

Thanks for the musical kickstart.

Mrs. M said...

I do not have one of those albums. I can at least say I have heard of some of the bands though. Yay me! :)

James (SeattleDad) said...

@Dipplo Daddy - Thanks. I enjoy me some good 70's rock, but am always listening to the new stuff as well.

@Idahodad - Cool! thanks for sharing yours! I will be checking them all out, if they are on Spotify that is.

@Bruce - There has been a lot of good music made over the past few years. Worth a listen if you have the delivery options.

@j-tony - Follow the links. You may find something you enjoy. Let me know if you do.

@Tim - Yeah, they have a lot of good music. I tend to like music with some great riffs, but there are still some on there which aren't necessary guitar driven like beirut and devotchka.

@Teri - That's a great start. Now what were your favorites for 2011?

Anonymous said...

Of your list, I think I only own MMJ and Fleet Foxes. The MMJ would make my list, but I'm not over the moon about the Fleet Foxes. I like it, but not in my Top 10. This year I have really loved the new albums from Mates of State, Dawes, Over the Rhine, Wilco, Bon Iver, Decemberists, Gillian Welch, Coldplay, Amos Lee, Civil Wars, and Ryan Adams. Decemberists, Mates of State, and Coldplay have probably gotten the most spins of all. I admit to not actually owning the Amos Lee, but it's on the radio a lot. I've also enjoyed Head & the Heart, and Blind Pilot, from your neck of the woods. Ohh, and I've forgotten Tristen. She got numerous spins in my car CD player as well. Nice little poppy, sugary record. Yum. Missy in Louisville

Alaska DAD said...

You had me at Best Albums! I know enough of the bands on the list to know that this is a list that I should check out all of the bands listed. Thanks for putting it out there. I know Seattle-taste so I would assume yours is good (similiar to mine).The People's Key-Bright Eyes, Angles-The Strokes, and How I Got Over-The Roots are all releases I enjoyed this year. It's sad to say but I did not listen to enough music to have a Top Ten this year. Happy New Year and keep Rocking the blogosphere. I will keep checking-in.

James (SeattleDad) said...

@Missy - Thanks for weighing in. I did enjoy many on your list which didn't make my top 20. Bon Iver, Blind Pilot etc... However, I didn't enjoy Dawes. Just not my thing I guess. The Head and the Heart was reissued on sub pop but was #2 on my list last year.

@Alaska Dad - Awesome. Thanks for the comment, and also for your recommendations. I have not yet hear The Roots, or Bright Eyes. Gives me more to check out on Spotify.

Dan said...

This has been starred in my google reader for ages - finally got round to making a spotify list out of it. thanks man :)